Your Pocket Guide To Running For Office
By Prachi Gupta
As Donald Trump’s almost all-boys club pushes America closer and closer to a constitutional crisis, a historic number of fed up women are mulling bids for elected office. While there are more resources and organizations to help women plot this journey than ever before, it’s still daunting to think about—and realistically, where do you even begin?
On the latest episode of Big Time Dicks, Joanna and I spoke with Erin Loos Cutraro, founder and CEO of She Should Run, a nonpartisan organization that helps train and recruit women to run for elected office. On Tuesday, She Should Run announced its ambitious goal of ensuring that women make up half of the names on ballots by 2030. If you think you’d like to be one of them, the first place for you to start, Cutraro told us, is figuring out the “why.”
“Why do you want to run? What is your vision for leadership? What do you want to make a difference doing? Because depending on how you answer that question, you’ll want to align your ambition and goals with an elected office that allows you to do that,” she said. She Should Run, for example, offers an online community and resources for women to explore that question, and helps them prepare for the next steps. The one thing that all of the women in the community have in common, she says, is that they are problem-solvers.
The second step is “sitting down and mapping out” the local, state, and federal offices that fit your goals. “It takes some research,” she says. “There’s not one sort of comprehensive place to look.” For local offices, she recommends reaching out to your county clerk and asking what offices are available and when they will open for an election. After that, it’s time to network and build relationships with local politicians, leaders, and even other organizations that can help you fundraise and campaign.
When women run for office, they win at the same rates as men and raise the same amount of money as men, Cutraro notes. But for women, who doubt themselves more than men do, the greatest challenge may be deciding to run. “If you’re somebody who wants to run for office, you want to state your ambition,” she says. “And I think women often hesitate to do that.”
“When you state your ambition,” she says, “you then immediately get entered into an ecosystem of placing yourself somewhere that you become top of mind for individuals when an opportunity becomes available.”
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Big Time Dicks can be found on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play, iHeart Radio, and on the NPR One app.